Dumb Golf Rules That Should Go Away
Part of the appeal of golf is the tradition, rules, and sense of honor.
What other sport do you know where a competitor calls a penalty on himself?
That’s standard procedure in golf.
On the other hand, golf is hundreds of years old — some rules make no sense anymore, or they were dubious all along.
You may think that rules rarely change, but it does happen.
For example, have you ever addressed your ball on the green as you line up a putt during a windy day and the ball moved?
Fortunately, the United States Golf Association (USGA) recently changed the rule that gave you a penalty if the wind blew your ball and made it move, costing you a stroke without you doing anything.
In that spirit, here are several more golf regulations the USGA should banish to the Land of Useless Rules.
Tapping Spike Marks on the Green
Tapping down spike marks on the green is a violation of Rule 16-1a, and will cost you two strokes in stroke play and the complete loss of the hole in match play.
Really? Gee, what about the fact that my putting line has so many spike marks I could play pinball off them?
Let’s kill this rule.
Providing Advice to Competitors
If you’re competing with buddies, don’t let your friendship affect your judgment on the rules.
According to Rule 8.1, you will get a two-stroke penalty if you give advice to competitors.
This applies even if you didn’t initiate the conversation.
If your buddy asks you what club you would hit to a certain green and you answer, you get the penalty. Abolish this silly rule.
Hitting a Competitor’s Ball on the Green
According to Rule 19.5, if you strike a competitor’s ball while putting, you just earned a two-stroke penalty.
Never mind that you’ve asked this competitor to mark their ball several times during the round, and gave up because of their lack of action.
On the other hand, if you are putting so badly you are striking other balls on the green, it may be time for a putting lesson.
Either way, let’s get rid of this one.
Touching a Loose Impediment
When playing out of a hazard, Rule 13.4 says if you touch a loose impediment while performing your backswing, you get to add a 2-stroke penalty to your card.
The funny thing is if you’ve ever tried to hit your ball out of a water hazard, it’s almost impossible to miss hitting a loose impediment in the process — reeds, nearby branches, rocks, gravel, sticks, and more.
Not Taking the Flag Out When Putting
“Can you tend the flag?”, your playing partner asks.
“Sure,” you say as you make sure your shadow is not in his line while you tend the flagstick.
His long, slow putt rolls up to the hole — wow, it looks like it has a chance.
You yank the flag, but it is stuck.
The ball hits the flag, and thanks to Rule 17.3, he gets a two-stroke penalty.
Now you get to play the rest of the round with someone sneering at you.
Send this rule to its room to be grounded forever.
Putt Hits Flagstick Laying on Green
While we are on the topic of flagsticks, Rule 17.3 also says you get a two-stroke penalty if you hit the flagstick laying on the ground with your putt.
Here’s an idea: how about a penalty for the person who left the flagstick so close to the hole?
In other words, let’s abolish this one, too.
Golf has lots of rules, but these rules can be jettisoned and make your rounds of golf more fun immediately.
Life has rules, too — like the more prepared you are, the better you’ll do — if you want to get a golf education to prepare you for a career in the golf industry, call Keiser University College of Golf at (888) 355-4465, or fill out the form, to discuss your options.